Networking 101 – Tips to succeed

Whether you want to grow your network, meet  like-minded individuals within your business sector or find potential clients, the Spanish Chamber events provide the perfect scenario for these situations. However, this is not always enough and you also need to do your best in order to make the most of your attendance.

Communication and inter-personal skills are the weapons that advocate for you, but do you use them to their full potential when you attend an event? In order words, do you know how to work a room?

After our previous post on the things you should not be doing at events, here’s the list of the things you definitely need to try and adapt to your personal style in order to polish your networking techniques. Read on for the ultimate advice on how to be a successful networker in 5 easy steps.

-Be approachable.

Always present yourself with an open, friendly and approachable attitude. Remember, you need to attract people to you and first impressions count for enormously so standing arm-crossed at the back of the room is not going to entice many guests to come your way.  On the contrary, you are much more likely to be approached (or accepted in a group) if you transmit an open and friendly attitude.This does not mean you need to walk around the room greeting everyone the Spanish way with a kiss on each cheek, but a smile and a proactive attitude will do it.

-Hand your card over with grace (and make sure you’ve got enough)

When is the best time to hand out your card or ask for one? There is not a golden rule for this, but surely you need to wait until you have been able to listen to what the other person does and wants to tell you, similarly you have been able to introduce your activity. However, it is always important that this moment does not interrupt the fluency of the dialogue. Sometimes it is better to hand it either when you first meet or when you are about to say goodbye, but try always try to do it naturally.

business-card

-Play the part.

It may not always come easy to talk to a total stranger when attending an event, especially if you are attending on your own. One of the most common tricks people  use to overcome this challenge is to act like somebody else they consider good at networking. Think about what it is that you like about that person and how you can adapt it to your own personal behavior and style. Next time you attend an event you can put it into practice and it will help you break the ice.

-Balance what you want and what you can offer

Your main reason for attending an event may be that you are interested in meeting a handful of people that are key to your area of business, but since everybody else is in the same situation you need to stand our from the rest in order to be not only noticed but what it is more important: to be remembered.

Your tip to success here is to ask yourself what these people may be looking for and what you can offer them in exchange. Try to think in advance about your goals and needs for that particular event  in order to identify opportunities and meet the key contacts you want to speak to. When doing so, however, bear always in mind what that person may be asking about yourself and the way you can help them, this will make a difference to them. This is when you need to present yourself as a contact that adds value to their network. If you have success when doing it, then they will instantly see a connection with you as a win-win situation.

Give your network a bit of TLC

We said it before and we are repeating it now: the worst mistake you can ever make is to think of networking as a short-term tool.  Networking may be about expanding your contacts in its early stages, but the key is to maintain and care for your network as it grows. Keeping in touch is essential so that your contacts can remember you when the opportunity arises, and odds are they will turn first to a trusted connection. In order to build that trust you need to invest time to develop a long-lasting professional relation so they can keep you in mind at the right time. Also, you should think about your contacts within the same way and try to let them know about possible collaborations or opportunities that might be suitable for their businesses.

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